Saturday, May 23, 2009
How free day at the science center became the most expensive day ever.
Just sit right back and I'll tell a tale, a tale of a fateful trip. It started with free day at the AZ Science center. That's in downtown Phoenix. I live in East Mesa. So, about a 45 minute trip. I tend to stick pretty close to home, and go to downtown Phoenix as little as possible. Scott had to be at Snappy (aka- Crappy), so it was just me and 6 kiddos. I wasn't too worried, I gave them the whole "There are 6 kids and just one mom" lecture. A and N are "buddies" when we go somewhere, as are Luke and Landon. That just means the older child holds the younger childs hand and helps them as needed. I pushed the double stroller with the babes. Well, we get there, see the parking garage, and as I'm pulling up to it, someone that was parked on the street pulled out. Cool! Free parking on the street is way better than paid parking in the garage! I am super cheap. to a fault. As the story will tell. So, I pull in, get the older kids out, and feed them the sandwiches I'd brought. While we are sitting there eating our sandwiches, 3 or 4 different people came up and asked me if parking was free on Saturdays. I had assumed it was, like everyone else. After all, Everywhere I had EVER lived had free street parking on the weekends. I didn't take into account the major budget crisis in our state. But i didn't know for sure. The meters have nothing on them to tell you if they are free on saturdays. We checked every other vehicle on our street, and all the meters were empty, and no one had a ticket on their window. Some of the people that I talked to decided to go back and feed their meter "just in case" and others decided to risk it. I am not a risk taker. I fed my meter before we left. The maximum allowed was 2 hours. no problem, we aren't that far. We can spend some time looking around, then come back to re-feed the meter. So my munchkins and I toodled around the corner to the Science center, and we saw it...... The line that stretched on for miles. It was the longest line I had ever seen, and that includes lines at disneyland. I knew right then that I would have to be completely nuts to stand in that line. But what could I do? I had promised the kids, and they were so excited! I had threatened them to behave, and they were behaving. Believe me, I would have taken any excuse to leave. But they were being REALLY good. So we stood in the line. This line was outside. In Arizona. Now, it was the last weekend of April, so while it wasn't "hell" hot yet, it was still pretty dang warm. Thankfully, I had brought plenty of water. So we waited. and waited. and just when we thought we were getting where we needed to be, we saw it wasn't the entrance, the line just turned and went on some more. the kids were still being little angels. Even the babies. The munchkins would run around a little, have little races to this light post, or that rock, find a hill to roll down. I was wishing I would have saved the sandwiches until we were in line, but oh well. Why did I think we were the only ones who knew about free day? When we were getting close to the actual door, we were under a tree. Finally, some shade! But even the shade had it's price. SPLAT! A bird pooped on me. yes. I know. gross. Thankfully (if there is something to be thankful about when a bird poops on you- how very Betsie ten Boom of me) it only landed on my hand and some on the stroller. I think I would have been more grossed out if it had landed on one of the babies. So glad I had baby wipes and hand sanitizer with me. We finally get inside, in the wonderful air conditioning, and the waiting was just about over. Our turn comes, we each get an armband, and off we go to explore. We had waited in line for one hour. ONE HOUR IN LINE!! I was just so thankful to be in the air conditioning, and out of that line, that the last thing I was thinking of was our meter. I'm sure there was a part of my brain soothing itself with a constant "it's okay, parking is free on Saturdays. If it's not, it should be, so surely you won't get a ticket." I never thought of that meter the entire time we were in the museum. It was all of our first times there, and it is very "hands on", so the kids were having a great time. it is 4 stories. We took our time, and wandered around. One of the favorites of the older 4 kiddos was the nose. it's a giant nose that you throw foam balls into, then the nose sneezes them back out. This same exhibit freaked poor Dylan out. The "sneezing" sound was loud and abrupt, and he did not like it one bit. I had to hold him to calm him down until we were far enough away that he could no longer hear it. That was the only time we had even a minor issue. I had brought the baby sling with me, so it was possible to snuggle Dylan and push the stroller at the same time. The kids explored, touched, built, smelled, destroyed, learned, looked, played, and had such a great time. no one whined (a big accomplishment), they all took turns, everyone listened, it was great. They had a Star Trek exhibit, but you had to pay extra for that -- quite a bit extra. I am a big Sci-fi geek, but my extreme cheapness rules all, so we didn't see it. When we had seen all there was to see (of the free stuff anyway), and done all there was to do, we headed back out the door. About 4 hours later. plus the one hour we spent in line. 5 hours on a 2 hour meter. A meter that should have been free on Saturdays. Guess who had a nice yellow envelope on her window? apparently the free parking is only on Sundays. It used to be free Saturdays, but that had just recently been changed. Don't you think they should be required to post ON THE METER which days you have to pay? So, the parking ticket was $31. Still not too bad, I reasoned. If I had payed to go to the museum, it would have cost $52. If I would have paid for parking, it would have cost about $12. And according to the lady screaming obscenities at the parking attendant, the line just to get out of the parking garage was about an hour long. At that point, I was glad I hadn't parked in the garage. I was through waiting in lines. So I took my ticket, and headed home. Do you think that is where the story ends? not even close. I do not watch the news. What does that have to do with anything? well, the first time I had heard anything about the dreaded "Swine Flu" was that same Saturday evening. I am hyper-vigilant about Dylan's health, so if I would have heard anything about this flu earlier, I most certainly would not have taken him to a closed museum with thousands of people. Prbably not a good idea anyway, but there you have it. Monday morning, Dylan was running a fever. Not a high fever, but I was still concerned. Tuesday, same thing. His temperature hovered around 99-100. Wednesday, I was at the doctor with another child for a well check, and asked her how concerned I should be. She asked if I had been around anyone who had been out of the country recently???? I (in a bit of a crazed tone, I'm afraid) told her about my brilliant outing to free day at the museum, and I'm sure at least a few of those thousands of people had been out of the country recently. She assured me if it was the flu, his temperature would be higher, but they could test him if I wanted. I decided to wait and keep an eye on his fever. it finally seemed to break on Friday evening. Saturday he woke up with a red rash all over his torso, diaper area, and little on his neck an face. So I freaked (just a little) and took him in to the after hours clinic. it was Roseola. apparently the rash is harmless, just a bit bothersome. The doc there told me that once he has the rash, the worst is over. What is strange is that when I came home, I read up on Roseola and you are supposed to have a much higher fever with that also. Oh, well. I'm glad it wasn't any higher, and I'm glad it wasn't the flu. And yet, the story continues. last week in the mail, I got an envelope from Automated Traffic Enforcement. What? It was a a "traffic violation notice" . For about 2 miles on the way to the Science center, I was on a stretch of interstate where the speed limit is NOT 65, like every other highway around here. apparently on this short stretch, the speed limit is 55. I was going 69. What's funny here is that I remember seeing the sign saying the speed was enforced by photo radar. knowing they typically don't flash until you are 11 miles over the speed limit, I assumed (again) that I was safe. I thought I was only 4 miles over. Don't ask me how I managed to see the Photo radar enfocement sign, but miss the speed limit sign. Sigh. The moral of this story? just stay home. No, I know what you are thinking. There are several other conclusions, or morals you can draw from this story. Don't speed. Feed your meter. Watch the news. blah, blah, blah. just STAY HOME. that is my new motto. The kids finish school this thursday, and from that point on, we will be sequestered. no bike rides, no malls, no movies, no swimming pools, no parks, no zoos, no back yards, and certainly NO FREAKING MUSEUMS!!!!! Shades drawn, door locked. We will emerge at the end of summer, slightly Gollum-like, in order to start school again. Thankfully, summer break is only 6 weeks long. can you get rickets in that amount of time? note to self, stock up on Vitamin D supplements.
at 10:43 AM